Last year, I started a tradition in my family of taking my parents and sister out to dinner to a nice restaurant, in place of buying them presents. It makes Christmas shopping much easier for me and my family gets to try some food that they wouldn’t get to try usually try anywhere else.
Last year I took them to Ezard’s and they loved it. So, this year, I decided to take them to another Asian inspired restaurant, Pearl.
I’ve been there for breakfast many times, but never for dinner. I’ve been wanting to go there for so long and even more so after seeing Geoff Lindsay (owner/chef of Pearl) do a demo at the Werribee Harvest Picnic.
The menu at Pearl is I guess what you would call ‘Modern Australian’, mostly influenced by Asian Cuisine, but there’s also an obvious hint of Middle East inspiration as well.
As you may have seen in one of my previous posts, I’ve been wanting to try Pearl’s Roast Red Duck Curry for quite a while now and even had my own attempt at it. Finally I was going to get to try the real thing!
The Pearl dining room is a light, bright, mostly white room with a black floor, with big windows looking out onto Church St, Richmond. You walk in through the automatic swing door at the front and enter into the foyer / main bar area and then step down into the main dining room.
Instead of having slices of bread on the table, Pearl gives you a largish roll, which has been cut into quarters from underneath – not quite all the way through, so when you look at it from the top, you can’t actually tell it has been cut. At first we thought maybe they’d only given us enough bread for one, but then discovered it was ready to tear. The bread was served with some lovely, bright yellow, zingy, lemon infused olive oil for dipping- very Italian.
I ordered the Red Roast Duck Curry (of course), while my Mum ordered Garfish with Nam Jim and Green Mango Salad. My Dad and sister both ordered the Morton Bay Big tails with Crab and Scallop Won Ton’s.
My Duck Curry comes served on a plate with 3 bowls. In the first bowl is the Duck pieces with the curry itself. The second bowl consists of a deep fried poached egg, sweet fish sauce, a chilli split in half, half a lime and some mint leaves. The third bowl is your rice. Sandwiched between the bowls is a long spiky piece of wom-bok. The waitress explained to me that there’s a recommended way to eat the curry, so I got her to show me how it was done. Basically she took the chilli and lime out of the second bowl and mashed up the poached egg (which still had a runny yolk, even after being poached AND deep fried) into the sweet fish sauce. She explained to me that then I take the duck pieces out of the first bowl and put them on my plate, then incorporate the mixture from the second bowl into the curry into the duck curry in the first bowl. Then you’re supposed to taste it for sourness and heat, if you think it needs more, you can add more lime or chilli. I added all of the lime, but could have done with some more. Once I had pieced all the pieces of the Duck Curry puzzle together, I was ready to eat! This duck curry was so rich in flavour, that literally from the first mouthful, I felt like I was already full! There was no way I wasn’t going to finish that delicious, tender duck though. It was everything I had imagined it to be, and for $40, there was no way I wasn’t going to finish it – I didn’t care if I self combusted right there at the table! I did in the end manage to finish it though, after two glasses of water and a bottle of Limonata. I can’t wait to go back again to have another one.
Although I didn’t try any of the other meals on the table, they did look sensational. Somehow, I managed to find some room in my tummy though for dessert! I ordered the Apricot Soufflé, which came with a Raspberry Tart and Almond Ice Cream. The Souffle was perfectly risen and light and fluffy. However for an Apricot Soufflé, it didn’t really taste all that much of Apricot, even though it had the slight Apricot colour to it. The tart that it came with was barely a raspberry tart, it was mainly a lemon tart with a few raspberries at the bottom of the tart. One thing I can’t stand is a lemon tart and this one was no exception. It may have been good for a lemon tart, but I wouldn’t know. The Almond Ice cream was delicious. It had that unmistakable texture of homemade ice-cream. Not quite as soft as the store bought stuff, but much more flavoursome.
My Mum ordered the Turkish Delight Ice-Cream with Pommegranite seeds, Persian Fairy Floss and Rose Petals.
My sister had Taro dumplings filled with Valhrona Chocolate- Dark, White and Milk, which were garnished with flecks of Gold Leafing. Very impressive!
Overall, we had a fantastic little Christmas dinner at Pearl, we will definitely be going back. The service was very attentive, even though at times they were very busy. Our water was always topped up, more bread offered, plates cleared when they needed to be and the service came with a smile, which was what made our night out a memorable one.
Ooooh, I want some more Duck Curry!!